When fishermen won the Cup
Searsport — Mark J. Gabrielson will discuss and sign his book “Deer Isle’s Undefeated America’s Cup Crews: Humble Heroes From a Downeast Island” Thursday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. at the downtown Penobscot Marine Museum.
The America’s Cup yacht races were, and still are, the most prestigious and expensive international sporting events in the world. With a history extending back more 160 years, the America’s Cup reached its height in the late 1800s — the era of J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and Sir Thomas Lipton.
Until that time, American yachts in the competition had been crewed by professional sailors from Europe. But in the winter of 1895, emissaries from the New York Yacht Club traveled more than 450 miles by train and steamboat to remote Deer Isle to recruit an all-Yankee crew. That small fishing town sent nearly 40 of its best sailors to New York to sail Defender, and in a difficult and controversial series they defeated the best Great Britain’s aristocrats could muster.
Gabrielson is a licensed Coast Guard Master in the Merchant Marine and a Trustee of the Marion-Bermuda Race. He spent childhood summers on Deer Isle and heard the stories of the Deer Isle America’s Cup team, still one of the best teams ever to sail race, but could not find much published information about them. He graduated from Princeton University and spent 33 years in business. Now he is a graduate history student at Harvard University Extension School, pursuing his life-long interest in researching and writing about maritime history. “Deer Isle's Undefeated America's Cup Crews” is the first in a planned series of books. He is working on a new book on the history of oceanic navigation.
The talk and book signing will be at the museum’s Stephen Phillips Memorial Library, 11 Church St. Tickets are $10, $8 for members, in advance and will be $15/$12 at the door. To buy, call 548-2529.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or email@example.com.